Reader Question: Bed Bugs At Holiday Inn – Appropriate Compensation?


A LoyaltyLobby reader dropped me an email about bed bug issue at a Holiday Inn hotel in New Jersey where the hotel has failed to pay direct expenses incurred due to the incident.

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I love the newsletter.  As an avid traveler myself, I find the stories within helpful and, many times, funny as well.  I never thought I’d have something to write in about, but recently I had an experience with bedbugs, and I wanted to see what you thought I should do.

Now, I literally spend 352 nights a year in hotels for work, and I’ve never had any issues.  I try to check bedbugregistry before even booking a hotel, and I always check the mattress, nightstand, carpet etc for bugs when I check in.  Maybe it was bound to happen, but I didn’t see anything when I checked.  When I got woken up, I was super itchy.  I had 29 bites all over my body, swollen and bothersome.  I caught a few of the bugs and put them in a plastic bag, but at least one I was unable to catch, and he got away into the folds behind the bed.

I brought the bugs down to the front desk and gave them to the manager on-site.  They immediately moved me into another room, far away from my original room, and I used their housekeeping machines to wash ALL of my clothes, shoes, etc, taking hours and hours.  In the morning, they called a pest control service who checked the original room, and treated my luggage for me, putting them in bags with some chemical.  The pest control guys came back and said they didn’t find anything in the room (must not have looked too hard, because there was at LEAST one running around in there), and by this point everything had been washed and/or treated.

The hotel obviously didn’t make me pay for my stay, and when I checked out I was told that the manager would be in touch about further compensation.  I went to the airport, and in the airport, my ankle began itching.  I pulled back my sock, and there was another bedbug!  I took off the sneakers, threw them and my socks away, bought some flip flops at the airport, and completed my flight to Detroit.  When I got to Detroit, I was obviously still shaken.  Nothing the hotel had done had fixed the problem, so I called a canine unit in Detroit to come to the hotel, as dogs can sniff out live bugs, dead bugs, and even eggs.  They came, checked ALL my stuff, and $500 later gave me the “all clear”.  

Since then, I’ve been in touch with the hotel and IHG properties.  The hotel asked me for receipts for the canine unit, the flip flops, new sneakers, etc.  I sent everything in, and they came back and said that there will not be any further compensation.  They say they didn’t charge me for the room, and they had a pest control unit come and treat my luggage, and that was all they were going to do.  IHG states that because it’s a privately owned hotel, they handle all their own compensation and there’s nothing that IHG or Holiday Inn can do.  To this point I have not been reimbursed for the $500 I spent on the canine unit, the money for the flip flops or the new sneakers, and I have received NO points as compensation for my troubles of being up all night doing laundry, the bug bites that took weeks to heal, or my other issues.

I’m a Spire member with IHG, with over 1.1 million points.  I was expecting better treatment than this – what do you think my options are?  Anything you can suggest?  I’m really still annoyed by this…

Well. I just got hit with the bed bugs by myself the other week at the InterContinental Park Lane in London (read more here). The hotel also called in a pest control company to “investigate” and they couldn’t find any “evidence”.

It would be fair that the hotel would compensate the direct expenses that the reader incurred due to the bed bugs and throw in some points for the inconvenience. Considering that the reader is a Spire Elite, he must spend considerable number of nights with the chain.

I don’t like the fact that IHG Rewards Club strategically claims that they cannot do anything because the hotel is only affiliated with the chain. They should take ownership of the problem if the property fails to do show and deal it with later.

The reader could take the hotel to small claims court to get them to pay expenses involved.


Chain, in this case IHG, should take ownership of these service issues and resolve them. Customer service in Manila just gives a cold shoulder and hopes that the issue goes away.

I hope that the reader has already left appropriate review on TripAdvisor. If he also tries to leave a review on IHG’s own website that deals with bed bugs, one can be 100% sure that it won’t ever be publicized.

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